Back to Newspaper Article Index

Source: The Zanesville Courier, Zanesville, Muskingum Co., Ohio
Saturday, November 17, 1877, page 1, column 2
Contributed by Ky Longley

The Early History of Zanesville
by E.H.C.

For the Courier,

    Mr. Christian Spangler came to Zanesville in the spring of 1802. He was a blacksmith by trade, and a son-in-law of David Harvey. He lived on the lot, diagonally across the street from his father-in-law, where the Star block now stands, built his black-smith shop on the same lot and worked at his trade. Afterwards he purchased the lot east of Convers & Monroe's brick storeroom, in Mud hollow -- that is, on Main street, east of Fifth street and Sewer alley. He sold the corner lot on Sewer alley to Samuel Parker. Mr. Spangler erected upon this lot a residence and blacksmithing business for several years. At the time of the formation of Muskingum county he was elected a member of the Board of County Commissioners. He was also one of the first justices of the peace who served the people of Zanesville. He served several terms in this capacity, was County Treasurer for several terms, and was serving as Treasurer in 1817, when Wm. Craig, the Collector of taxes, ran away with the money. At that time there was a Collector of Taxes and a Treasurer. He was elected to the Town Council, and served several terms. He served the people as Mayor in 1816, 1817, and 1818 and in 1817 was elected to represent Muskingum County in the Legislature of Ohio.

    Mr. Spangler was, by profession, a Methodist, and one of the leading members of that organization in this section of the State, and was licensed to exhort and preach. His house was the headquarters, for several years, for traveling Methodist preachers. In 1814, or 1815, Lorenzo Dow, in passing through Zanesville, stopped with Mr. Spangler, and preached in front of the Court House. The writer recollects of both seeing this noted man and hearing him preach.

    Lorenzo Dow was a peculiar man, but he understood the character of the pioneers and was wonderfully popular with them. At night he would take his saddle-bags for a pillow, his great coat for covering and lay upon the floor. Mrs. Spangler would ask him to sleep in a bed, but he would not and informed her that traveling through the wilderness, he would sometimes lay upon a cabin floor and often times lay under a tree and on that account he declined the luxury of a feather bed in Zanesville. Mr. Dow preached twice in Zanesville, once in front of the Court House as is stated above and once in the Market House. He died in Georgetown, D.C. in 1832. When Mr. Spangler moved to Zanesville in 1803, he had two sons, David five and Isaac three years old. Three daughters and one son were born to him after he settled here. The names of the last children were Elizabeth, Sarah, Charlotte, and Elias. Elizabeth married and moved to Coshocton county. She married a James Henderson, a tailor by trade. He was quite a prominent man in his day. He was twice elected Mayor of Zanesville and in 1843 was elected State Senator and served the people one term in that capacity. Charlotte married her cousin, Mr. Timberlake. Elias, or Shad, as the boys of 1825 called him, learned the trade of sadlery with William Huntington. he left Zanesville, many years ago. Elias, or Shad, was one of the lively boys of Zanesville in his day, full of all kinds of tricks and always in for fun and frolic. One evening there was to be a general class meeting and in such meetings Christian Spangler generally took the lead. That knew this and concluded to have a little fun. He secured by some means a pack of cards, rolled them nicely in his father's handkerchief, hunted up his shad-belly coat with outside pockets and standing collar and there in the pocket he deposited the handkerchief. The people on this occasion assembled in large numbers and Mr. Spangler took charge and becoming warmed up, reached for the pocket in the shad-belly, pulled out the handkerchief and the cards flew hither and thither all over the floor.

    The good man stopped short and exclaimed: "This is some of Elias' work." The thing was so ridiculous that the audience and the leader of the meeting could refrain from laughter. David Spangler was one of the leading boys of the city. He studied law with Judge Harper and was admitted to the bar in 1822. He afterwards settled in Coshocton and became one of the leading lawyers of Southeastern Ohio. He was at one time nominated by the Whigs for Governor of the State, but declined the honor as he had at that time a lucrative law practice. He gave close attention to business and became wealthy and died several years ago. His second son Isaac studied medicine with Dr. Robert Mitchell. The writer recalls well the sickly season of 1828, when Dr. Spangler was in partnership with Dr. Mitchell. Dr. Isaac Spangler became one of the leading physicians of this city, and had he desired it could have stood at the head of his profession in the State. He was a man of more than ordinary capacity, a man of excellent judgment and very successful in practice. He was kind to the poor, attending them during his sickness free of charge, and giving them much in addition. Oftentimes when going to call upon some poor family with sick members he carried along with him in addition to medicines such articles of diet as he thought the patient could eat. During the last sickness of old Black Nance, so well-known to the early citizens of Zanesville, Dr. Spangler was in attendance upon her. She was old and poor. The Dr. called expecting no compensation for his services, yet he did all in his power to relieve the old black woman. She thought she could eat a young chicken. The Dr. purchased one and had it nicely cooked and sent to her. These little acts of kindness to the poor endeared Dr. Spangler to the great mass of the people. At one time he served the people as Mayor, but declined the honor of a re-election.

    He might have become a wealthy man, but being kindhearted and very fond of jolly company, he neglected his business and permitted the years to glide away and old age to come along and find him in very moderate circumstances. He was accidentally killed on New Years morning, some years ago. The people turned out en mass to be present at the last rites over the remains of the kind-hearted man, who had been so good a friend to the poor. In 1812 or 1813, Christian Spangler purchased the stock of goods of Convers & Monroe, and kept store in the building where he had carried on blacksmithing. He built a crick warehouse on the corner of Fifth street and Locust alley, the same square upon which his store stood. Mr. Spangler traded goods of various kinds for furs, skins, ginseng, beeswax, feathers and other articles, and sent them over the mountains to the Eastern cities to exchange for goods. In going East to make purchases, the merchants would go in companies of two, three or more, for mutual protection. They always traveled on horseback. Mr. Spangler purchased heavily just before the close of the war when goods were high, and the stock was still on hand when the war closed. There was wonderful depreciation not only in goods of all kinds, but in real estate. In consequences of the great depreciation, Mr. Spangler failed in business and his real estate was sacrificed.

    Several Zanesville merchants failed at that time and from the same cause. A few years after this failure Mr. Spangler went to Kentucky, to live with his daughter, Mrs. Timberlake. There he married a second time, and carried on the blacksmithing business, and occasionally exhorted and preached. He died in Kentucky a few years ago.

Return to the top of this page

This county is part of the USGenWeb Project, a non-profit genealogical resource web system, and is maintained by Denny Shirer < drdxneo.rr.com >

© 2000-2004 Denny Shirer for Muskingum County, OHGW